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Exeter Chiefs sting Munster late in Sandy Park thriller

By PA
Henry Slade scores late for Exeter Chiefs - PA

Seventeen points from Henry Slade proved the difference as Exeter defeated Munster 32-24 to register their second narrow Champions Cup victory in as many weeks.

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Having secured a 19-18 triumph at Toulon last weekend thanks to a last-minute conversion from Slade, they needed a remarkable rally on Sunday with Munster having looked in control when they led 24-13 after 65 minutes.

Dan Frost, Jack Dunne, Ross Vintcent and Slade scored the Chiefs’ tries, with Slade converting three and adding two penalties in front of more than 13,000 at Sandy Park.

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Tom Ahern, Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch and Shane Daly scored Munster’s tries, with Jack Crowley kicking two conversions.

Munster took a sixth-minute lead following a frenetic opening, their forwards exerting sustained pressure before a superb 30-metre pass from scrum-half Craig Casey gave Nash a simple run-in.

The hosts soon responded with their first try. A break from full-back Tommy Wyatt, well supported by locks Rusi Tuima and Dafydd Jenkins, took Chiefs into the opposition 22, from where Frost forced his way over.

Exeter Munster
Press Association
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Slade’s conversion brought the sides level so it was 7-7 at the end of an evenly contested first quarter.

Munster regained the lead thanks to an alert piece of play from Crowley. The outside half saw the hosts’ cover was lacking on the right flank so he chipped the ball forward for Ahern to collect and gallop 45 metres to the line.

Slade reduced the arrears with a 40-metre penalty but his side immediately bungled the restart and Munster were back in the home 22, where they made Chiefs pay.

Clever inter-play between Ahern, Casey and Daly culminated in a long pass from Daly which provided Frisch with an unopposed run to the line. Crowley converted and his side held a deserved 19-10 interval lead.

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Slade kept Exeter in contention with his second penalty four minutes after the restart, but Munster soon scored their bonus-point try.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
0
4
Tries
4
3
Conversions
2
0
Drop Goals
0
119
Carries
146
7
Line Breaks
14
13
Turnovers Lost
15
3
Turnovers Won
7

A break from Frisch sent Diarmuid Barron on a run deep into the hosts’ 22, from where the ball was recycled for Daly to score.

Exeter immediately responded by sending on five replacements in a bid to galvanise their efforts and, within three minutes, two more followed.

Slade had a chance to kick a simple three points but Chiefs opted for an attacking line-out and it proved the wrong call as the visitors kept their line intact.

However, Exeter were able to maintain the pressure and were rewarded when replacement Vintcent crashed over under the posts.

A minute later, the game turned on its head when Exeter scored a second. Nash was all at sea in dealing with an awkwardly bouncing ball and it fell into the hands of Dunne, who gratefully touched down, with Slade’s conversion giving the home side a three-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Exeter were fortunate to escape a yellow card for Harvey Skinner’s challenge on Crowley, but Slade then intercepted a Conor Murray pass before running 50 metres to secure a valuable five points.

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